Human capital portfolios
AbstractThis paper assesses the trade-off between acquiring specialized skills targeted for a particular occupation and acquiring a package of skills that diversifies risk across occupations. Individual-level data on college credits across subjects and labor-market dynamics reveal that diversification generates higher income growth for individuals who switch occupations whereas specialization benefits those who stick with one type of job. A human capital portfolio choice problem featuring skills, abilities, and uncertain labor outcomes replicates this general pattern and generate a sizable amount of inequality. Policy experiments illustrate that forced specialization generates lower average income growth and lower turnover, but also lower inequality.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its series Working Paper with number 2012-03.
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-03-21 (All new papers)
- NEP-DGE-2012-03-21 (Dynamic General Equilibrium)
- NEP-HRM-2012-03-21 (Human Capital & Human Resource Management)
- NEP-LAB-2012-03-21 (Labour Economics)
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